1st Women in Science Symposium - summary

The 1st Women in Science Symposium (WiSS) took place at the International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in Warsaw (IIMCB) on March 4 and 5. Due to the uniqueness of the pandemic situation, the meeting was held online. The symposium aimed at increasing the awareness of young scientists of their own potential and career opportunities, with special emphasis on women's presence in the scientific world.

The meeting was opened by prof. Marta Miączyńska, Director of the IIMCB, who solemnly welcomed all participants, introducing the idea and genesis of the event and congratulated the originators and organizers of this unique initiative. Prof. Jacek Jaworski, Head of the Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology at the IIMCB, and prof. Magdalena Skipper, Editor in Chief of Nature and Chief Editorial Advisor for Nature Research performed their lectures in the opening session, as well.

Special guests and the main speakers of the symposium were Prof. Maya Schuldiner, Incumbent of the Dr. Gilbert Omenn and Martha Darling Professorial Chair in Molecular Genetics, Weizmann Institute of Sciences, Rehovot, Israel and Prof. Magdalena Żernicka-Goetz, Professor of Mammalian Development and Stem Cell Biology, University of Cambridge, UK; and Bren Professor of Biology and Biological Engineering at Caltech, USA.

During the two-day meeting, participants met with successful, recognized scientists from various professional backgrounds who shared their knowledge and experience. 16 experts from around the world, representing leading research centers and institutes, gave lectures in 4 thematic sessions:

I. Academia:

  1. Dr. Dragomir Milovanovic - Principal Investigator Molecular Neuroscience (AG Milovanovic); German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), Berlin, Germany

  2. Dr. Sushma-Nagaraja Grellscheid - Associate Professor at the Computational Biology Unit, University of Bergen, Norway; Associate Professor at the Department of Biosciences, Durham University, UK

  3. Prof. Alexandre Bonvin - Professor of Computational Structural Biology, Faculty of Science / Chemistry, Utrecht University, The Netherlands. Scientific Director Bijvoet Center for Biomolecular Research

II. Industry:

  1. Dr. Pamela Williams - Senior Director, Molecular Sciences, Astex Pharmaceuticals, Cambridge, UK

  2. Dr. Carien Dekker - Senior Principal Scientist at Novartis, Basel, Switzerland

  3. Dr. Alicja Czubaty - Business Analyst at Roche Global IT Solution Center, Warsaw, Poland

  4. Dr. Stefan Merkl - Chief Technology Officer (CTO) & Co-Founder CrystalsFirst GmbH


III. Mainstream careers: 

  1. Dr. Danielle Desravines - Grants Officer at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Grenoble (France) and Heidelberg (Germany)

  2. Dr. Karin Kuehnel, Senior Editor of Nature Communications

  3. Dr. Radhika Patnala, Founder and Director Sci-Illustrate

  4. Dr. Bianka Siwińska, CEO and Managing Director of Perspektywy Women in Tech & Perspektywy Education Foundation


IV. Fact and figures:

  1. Dr. Maren Jochimsen, European Platform of Women Scientists EPWS and Essen College of Gender Research, University of Duisburg-Essen

  2. Dr. Izabela Wagner, Associated Professor and Researcher at Collegium Civitas in Warsaw, Poland; DynamE - Dynamiques Européennes (Strasbourg University, France) and; Institut Convergences Migrations (ICM Paris, France)

  3. Prof. Gijsbert Stoet, Department of Psychology, University of Essex, UK

The symposium offered also three unique workshop meetings. Dr. Natasza Kosakowska-Berezecka from the University of Gdańsk talked about being an effective team member, effective team management and conflict resolution. The topic of building relationships and designing presentation skills in the times of cronavirus was presented by Dr. Magdalena Zadkowska, and Dr. Alicja Czubat led a career opportunity workshop at Roche Global IT Solution Center.

In addition, the program included panel discussions and the scientific "quick dating" that enjoyed great interest among participants.

We can proudly say that the interest in the symposium exceeded our hopes and expectations! Over 300 participants from nearly 30 countries took part in it. Their enthusiasm, expressions of appreciation and positive opinions allow us to believe that WiSS can be considered a successful one. We would like to thank everyone for their presence and positive reception. We hope to be able to meet you as soon as it will be possible.

logo of the Ministry of education   

The symposium was financed by the "Excellent science - support for scientific conferences"
program of the Ministry of Education and Science (formerly the Ministry of Science and Higher Education).

The partners were: the Foundation for Polish Science (FNP) and the MOSaIC project, and the sponsor - Roche Global IT Solution Center.

See: Photo Gallery. 

baner with logo WiSS and text summary